We have a sign that looks just like this in our kitchen. Lisa placed it there in 2008-2009 when we WEREN'T enjoying the journey. Between my cancer diagnosis and some other trials our family was going through, we weren't necessarily enjoying it at all! In fact, without going into great detail, one of my best friends said that to us one night when we were talking about our trials and how things were going. We both felt it was a platitude, at best. "Yeah, right dude. Enjoy the journey. Why don't YOU come enjoy OUR journey."
But, with time we learned it's true. The journey goes on, whether or not we want it to. And we can choose to enjoy it or not, but on it goes. That's become a real metaphor for me since my diagnosis. I could curl up in a ball and stay in bed. I could kick the dog. But, when all is said and done, I have a family to support and a life to live. So, why not "enjoy the journey." It's made all the difference.
So, what does that have to do with RFR Day 3? Plenty.
Cycling and cancer battles are replete with metaphors, and "Enjoy the Journey" is one of them. Take cancer, for example. Doctors, friends, colleagues, many around the patient can and want to help. They provide support. They provide encouragement. They cook meals and clean homes and do all they can. But, when it's all said and done, the patient is the one who has to ultimately be the one to go through it. No matter the love and support around, the one who has to do it is the patient. I had 17 radiation treatments in November, 2009, and two more in December, 2012. My family encouraged me, was by my side, made a care package for me, etc. So did friends. But, only I put on that hospital gown, laid down on the table, and had them beam radiation into my body in an attempt to arrest the cancer and save my life.
Don't get me wrong. I love my family and all those who support me. I'm not sure I could do it without them. And that's just it- where the cycling metaphor comes in.
Today we enjoyed the journey- good and bad. We had 5 climbs- they were awesome! Some enjoyed them, some suffered, our friends and family cheered us on, but only each of us turned the crank over and over and over...and over! We topped each summit, looked back on what we had done, looked forward to what lay ahead, and enjoyed the journey.
We had 45+ MPH gusts- many from the side that threatened to topple each of us- at times riding 15 MPH, at times riding 40+ MPH. Scary- yes. Other times we had head wind. As we departed Ely, we rode 16 miles, the ENTIRE TIME, with a side wind gusting. And, as we did so, I watched then and other times throughout the day, as our support crews fed us, sheltered us, hugged us, cheered for us, and generally did all they could for us. We cyclists supported one another. On the bike and off. Climbing. Descending. Watching from the sidelines. I watched cyclist after cyclist pull in front of another, or to the side, to shelter a rider who was struggling from the brutal wind. Over and over and over...and over! But, even though that was done multiple times, each cyclist had to ultimately be the one to go through it. You ride. With others. And support. But it's still YOU.
So, with that said, I want to state the obvious. Cancer sucks. Cycling doesn't. They're worlds apart. One many of us look forward to, and often do daily. One we don't ever want to hear in conjunction with our name, but daily many do. And that's just it. In cancer, in cycling, in life, my friend was right. We MUST "enjoy the journey", because there's no other way to get through it, and not getting through it IS.NOT.AN.OPTION.
So, today I want to give a shout out to all 11 of my fellow cyclists. Fun day. Brutal day. Everything in between. I respect all of you more than I can possibly say, and I would do ANYTHING for any of you, at any time, to help you enjoy your journey (cycling, cancer, or just life in general).
And, I'd like to give a shout out to all the support crew: Jo Ann (my dear Mom), Denise, Marian, Ray and Karen, Scott, Chandler and Chelsea, Vicki, Jim and Nikki. Words cannot express my love and gratitude for each of you. There's not "I support him or her", you all simply support, and that's amazing. And, it's not just about the food and water. Your shouts. Your claps. The bell. It's all such a great support and encouragement.
I've said it before and I'll say it again- there is no finer group of people assembled anywhere.
Now on to a few pictures and an overview of the day:
Today's stats as per Strava (because I forgot to snap a picture of my Garmin before it shut off):
All five passes (in order):